I think it’s a good thing. But like most qualities of temperament, it depends on where you point it. Our “pertinacity”. The refusal to budge. To take in new information and choose to remain stubborn–and potentially stuck. Think about something in your life over which you weren’t exactly the most humble and malleable person in the room. Did God meet you there? God is so patient, but He has things that need to get done. In your church and your area and the world. Realize that what you’re involved with will ultimately segue into what is going on in the grand scheme of things. We are not an island, we are a Body, a City. Saul found this out the hard way.
“And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from Heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” (Acts 9:3-5)
It’s interesting to see how Saul identifies him as Lord even as he asks who He is. Jesus responds by equating the multitudes of persecuted and martyred believers with Himself. His statement to Saul refers to a farming practice where the ploughman would goad the ox should the animal for whatever reason refuse to move. And sometimes, the ox would kick back at the spiked oxgoad, injuring itself in the process. Jesus told Saul that in persecuting the church, he wasn’t just hurting them and Christ, but himself as well. And so, he exchanges his temperament and his old life and also acquires a new name with which to begin living afresh.
“Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.” (Romans 12:16)
God is serious. I would say that if we’re stubborn and set in our ways, it flows from a desire to see things remain pure and to do things the easiest way possible. In other words, status quo. But we must understand that there are people who God ushers into our lives so that we may learn to flow in and out of temperaments that, while largely different than our own, are no less God than ours. God speaks through His whole body. And usually, it’s the person you might like least, who rubs you the wrong way, from whom the Lord would have you learn something. If we’re so set in our ways that we refuse to consider them, we may end in missing out on what God is doing, at least in a fuller measure. Don’t get so caught up in what God is doing in your church that you forget the people on the outskirts and periphery (who may not even attend any church) that may know God–at least in a certain area–better than you.
“In that day the Lord with His sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea. In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine. I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day. Fury is not in me: who would set the briars and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. Or let him take hold of my strength, that He may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.” (Isaiah 27:1-5)
Not sure what day it’s referring to but it encapsulates the story of God versus the devil with us in the middle. Jesus relates the parable of the “certain householder which planted a vineyard” and then “let it out to husbandmen” (Matthew 21:33). Afterwards, He says he “went into a far country”. He goes on to explain how the husbandmen failed to deliver, even going so far as to kill “the heir”. This is a pointed parable (as is the passage from Isaiah) in that it refers to a specific thing. Namely the Pharisees refusing to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and in turn caring for God’s people to see them ready. Sad thing is, this attitude still affects and afflicts the Body of Christ. Jesus, later in John’s gospel, calls His Father “the husbandman” (John 15:1–the ‘h’ should be capitalized). Indicating that when all is said and done, God is going to have to do everything Himself. He says as much in Isaiah. We are the vineyard at His beckon call. He asks that we “take hold of [His] strength” and make peace with Him. Don’t worry about laying down any preconceived notions that (you may not be aware) are not in keeping with God’s heart on a matter. He’s so gentle. But if we “kick against the pricks” or “set the briars and thorns against [Him]”, He may have to take drastic measures.
“No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:11-13)
Again, stubbornness can be a gift. Just be sure it’s gentled with love and broadened by belief. God wants to heal any and all breaches and infirmity prior to moving on.